It was many years ago.

I owned my own dog training company and business was successful.

I worked for it, no doubt. But my hard work was paying off. We had a steady stream of clients, made enough to live comfortably and to get our bills paid each month, and our customers loved us.

Things were going well.

Then, I got a call.

It was a good friend and dog trainer that I had worked with in the past.

I hadn’t heard from her in ages, so I was surprised when my phone rang.

“I’m moving,” she explained.

She was closing her local business and relocating…and she wanted my help.

The next day we met. We talked business and life, and we devised a plan to handle the customers that would inevitably find her website, who needed help with their dogs.

I would take over the inquiries so that the dog owners that were searching for help, could find the resources they needed.

Now, I’ll be honest. I expected a slight bump in requests. A handful of new people calling me each month, needing dog training help. I mean, since no one was actively advertising her business, I couldn’t imagine it would see much traffic at all.

I was wrong. And I was totally unprepared for the onslaught that ensued.

In fact, my business nearly doubled the first month I took over her inquiries. And it seemed as though every person that called me was ready to book services. They weren’t just browsing. They weren’t wanting to chat and then set up a free consultation. They wanted to sign up. Right then.

How on Earth was she landing such ready customers so easily?

I couldn’t figure it out, so I sent off a message, asking her what her secret was.

When the reply came, it hit me like a ton of bricks. She was getting all of this business for one primary reason. Sure she was an awesome trainer and had a phenomenal track record. Word of mouth mattered in her business. But she was landing all of these highly qualified customers every single day simply because she showed up on the first page of Google. Something I honestly never thought much about.

That day, I learned a valuable lesson that has served me well as I worked to build several more successful businesses.

Don’t underestimate the power of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

SEO simply means priming your website so that the search engines can easily find it. When you head over to Google and type in a search term, Google will scan the net and return what it feels are the most relevant results. By knowing what Google is looking for, you can actually build your website so that it is more attractive, and so that it shows up more readily when people search.

In fact, getting ranked on the search engines (showing up on the first few pages) will:

  1. Increase Your Traffic – Being ranked will send traffic to your website. And not just any traffic – qualified traffic – people who have searched for what you offer.
  2. Bring You Ready Customers – Most people who choose to find goods and services via a Google search are ready to buy or close. They aren’t looking to build a relationship. You don’t have to spend as much time letting them get to know you. They need something, and they need it now.
  3. Improve Your Credibility – Believe it or not, landing yourself on the first page of Google improves your credibility with your customers. It’s an instant vote of confidence and it shows people that you’ve been at this for a while and you have a good presence.

So how do you accomplish this?

I’m sure you’ve seen the many firms out there that promise to land you on the first page of Google with a (not-so) modest investment. In fact, SEO firms are seemingly popping up everywhere, promising big results in exchange for big dollars.

But the fact of the matter is, you can get started on optimizing your website for the search engines on your own.

Here are some things you can do.

  1. Pick a keyword – Get yourself super clear on those terms where, when your customers search for them on Google, you’d like to show up. Then make sure those words show up often on your posts and pages. You can have different keywords for each post or page. Just make sure the keywords are things your potential clients will actually search for.
  2. Post good content – Post new, fresh content featuring your keyword often. Make sure the content you produce is valuable to your target audience. If you aren’t one for blogging, something so simple as a dog treat recipe or an outline of the steps for teaching a new behavior works well. Get creative and have fun with it. Longer posts rank better in search engines, so targeting your posts to be over 1,000 words is ideal. However, you’ve got to be a pretty decent writer to keep people engaged in such long pieces, so if you aren’t confident in this area, don’t be afraid to shorten them up.
  3. Update your content regularly – Add new fresh content, and make updates to your current content periodically to keep it fresh in the eyes of the search engine. Search engines hate stale content with low visibility, so if your site hasn’t been touched in months, it’s time to make some updates.
  4. Get help – If you use WordPress for your website, and you know how to make updates yourself, there are many FREE plugins designed to help you better optimize your pages and posts. Try YOAST. It’s my favorite, and it will analyze each page and post on your site and give you suggestions to improve your SEO.

Optimizing your website for the search engines can do wonders for giving your business a boost, and for improving your digital presence and credibility in the online space. And the beauty of it is, you don’t have to hire an expensive firm to do it. If you are willing simply to roll up your sleeves and put in the work, and if you have access to make changes to your website, you can start taking steps today to improve your visibility.


If you need help with your SEO strategy, check out our upcoming workshop: DIY Search Engine Optimization for Dog Trainers and Pet Care Professionals.


Meagan Karnes
Meagan Karnes

Meagan has been training dogs professionally since 2002, most recently working with private security, military and law enforcement to provide K9s for high level applications. She owns both The Collared Scholar, an online dog training academy, and 690 Security Services, a company that trains and deploys Executive Security and Protection K9s to private customers. She recently partnered with both Average Frog and SM Leaders, who repurpose the proven performance principles of the Navy SEALs for individuals and organizations.

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